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Asafa Powell starts with world-leading time in Belgrade

30 May 2007

By Gary Smith

World 100m record holder Asafa Powell of Jamaica declared himself fit after producing a world-leading 9.97 seconds to win his 2007 debut 100m dash to highlight the second Artur Takac Memorial in the Serbian capital on Tuesday.

Happy to get the season going

After being sidelined for several weeks due to tendonitis off the knee Powell made the eagerly anticipated season opener a delighted one for the cheering fans inside the Partizan Stadium on his way to erasing his fellow countryman Dwight Thomas’ previous meet record of 10.34, set last year.

"It's such a relief to know that the injury is over," Powell said after improving Bahamian Derrick Adkins previous seasonal best of 9.98 set in California last month.

"I was very tense, but I'm much more relaxed now. The most important (thing) is that I stay injury free," he added.

As expected Powell started out conservatively, but broke into is rhythm midway through the race to get home well clear of the in-form Netherlands Antilles’ Churandy Martina, who was suffering his first defeat in three starts in the event.

Martina clocked 10.11, to add to the 10.09 he recorded at the Penn Relays last month and more recently, the winning time of 10.14 in Hengelo.

Powell’s training partner and fellow Jamaican, Michael Frater, the World silver medallist from Helsinki and Briton Mark Lewis-Francis were credited with a tie for third, with 10.19.

The women’s race was run without Sherone Simpson, the fastest woman in the world in 2006. The Jamaica decided not face the starter after being nagged by slight muscle pains prior to the race.

Bulgarian young start Iveta Lalova, who recovered well from a broken leg two years ago, took the event in 11.26 seconds. She was followed by American Mikele Barber, in 11.27, while quarter-miler Sherika Williams of Jamaica showed she has speed by finishing third, in 11.34.

Bahamian Chandra Sturrup race to her fastest time in two years, but had to settle with seventh in 11.45. Jamaica’s Nolle Graham finished fifth in 11.41.

Earlier in the day Graham took the women’s Long Jump with a meet record leap of 6.65m – improving fellow Jamaican Elva Goulbourne’s old mark by almost 20-centimetres.

Bahamian jumper Jackie Edwards improved on the 5.90 she leaped last year, but her best of 6.22m in the last round was only enough for sixth.

In other results Jamaica’s Dorian Scott finished third in a closely contested men’s Shot Put competition. Scott’s best of 20,07m bettered the meet record, but was beaten out for the top spots by Latvia’s Maris Urtans, who throw a mark of 20.14m and Luka Rujevi? (SRB), 20.08m.

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